The CDC is working alongside the Food and Drug Administration to investigate a “multistate” bacterial outbreak linked to the use of EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears. According to the agency’s most recent report, the outbreak is linked to 3 deaths. As well as 8 reports of vision loss, and 4 cases of surgical eyeball removal.
The CDC recommends “clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products” until further guidance is available.
The CDC is recommending that people immediately stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears products due to possible contamination by a drug-resistant bacteria linked to multiple deaths, vision loss and eyeballs being surgically removed. https://t.co/w9l2Cvp0tR
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 22, 2023
The Eye Drops Are Possibly Contaminated With Drug-Resistant Bacteria
According to the CDC, there has been a “multistate outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” The outbreak has never been seen in the US prior to now.
The outbreak is reportedly associated with multiple types of infections, including eye infections. Furthermore, the CDC has “identified artificial tears as a common exposure” for many of the affected patients.
The CDC’s Findings Thus Far
As of March 14, the CDC identified 68 patients in 16 states infected with the drug-resistant bacteria. The states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Three people have died, eight people have reported vision loss, and there have been 4 cases of surgical eyeball removal.
Most of the 68 patients reported using artificial tears products, with “over 10 different brands” reported. As well as “some patients” using “multiple brands.”
However, according to the CDC, the most common brand used was EzriCare Artificial Tears. The agency reports that it is “a preservative-free, over-the-counter product packaged in multidose bottles.”
More About Specimen Testing & Ongoing CDC Recommendations
According to the CDC, specimen collection was conducted between May 2022 and February 2023, it included testing of opened EzriCare bottles. This testing resulted in a match to the outbreak strain of bacteria.
Additionally, ongoing testing is being conducted on unopened bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears. This testing is to evaluate “whether contamination may have occurred during manufacturing.”
The CDC strongly recommends that patients and healthcare providers “immediately stop” the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears “pending additional information and guidance from CDC and FDA.”
Information For Patients Who May Have Used/Are Using The Contaminated Eye Drops
For those who have used the “EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears” and believe they are showing symptoms of an eye infection, it is recommended to seek medical care immediately.
The CDC says anyone who has used Ezricare or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears and has signs of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately. https://t.co/xkGWCMWNCH
— Action News 5 (@WMCActionNews5) March 18, 2023
Eye infection symptoms can include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, eye pain or discomfort, redness of the eye or eyelid, feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation), increased sensitivity to light, and blurry vision.
Furthermore, at this time, the CDC does not recommend testing for patients “who have used this product and who are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of infection.”